Shoring is the best way to offset the weight of the structure and ensure the integrity of the structure.
When you think about home or business management, you might think about gutters, caulking, and vents. It is surprisingly easy to forget something as important and obvious as the structures that surround every room, and that reveal the foundation integrity of the entire structure — the walls. Wall collapse is a dangerous, expensive, time-consuming, and ultimately a frightening possibility. Without swift and expert intervention, wall collapse is a serious issue that results in, at minimum, temporary evacuation, and at its worst, building condemnation. Knowing the signs, causes, and who to call can be the difference between saving and losing your home or building.
Signs of Collapse
- Cracks – One of the tell-tale signs of wall collapse is the presence of a horizontal crack on one of the walls. In general, vertical hairline cracks are normal and should not raise concern. However, if you notice a horizontal crack on the wall, whether it is just on one wall or wraps around a corner, it is a sign of foundation issues. These cracks may start out small, but over time, they can quickly grow to become a major problem and lead to the collapse of the entire foundation.
- Bowing – If the wall is bowing, this is indicative that the wall is unable to support the structure. If this is the case, you might notice that the top or bottom of the wall is buckling, tilting, or sliding, or a presence of a gap between the foundation and the soil, meaning that the wall is at risk of collapsing.
- Mold – Another cause for concern is visible moisture penetration, or mold. Mold is known for causing allergies, and in the instances of toxic mold, more serious neurological symptoms like headaches and dizziness. However, as mold feeds on organic materials — like the wood and paper in your walls — without prompt professional intervention, mold can destroy the walls and foundation, leading to collapse.
What Causes Wall Collapse?
When a building is not constructed properly, either because of lack of expertise, integrity, or the misuse of materials, the structure is at risk. One severe consequence of faulty construction is wall collapse. Additional factors, like moisture penetration, can cause and/or exacerbate structural issues. An increase in lateral pressure, a consequence of moisture from rainfall and the accompanying increase in muddy soil, results in wall fractures. These fractures are both a symptom and a problem, as cracks can lead to additional moisture penetration. Moisture penetration also leads to mold and deterioration, which can also result in wall collapse.
What Should You Do?
When a wall is collapsing, this means that it needs additional or new support in order to accommodate the structure. Shoring, or the integration of lateral support to a foundation, is the best way to offset the weight of the structure and ensure the integrity of the structure. This can be both a temporary and a permanent solution to wall collapse, depending on the size and condition of the structure.
Ignoring the problem will certainly only lead to more destruction to the foundation, and ultimately a greater cost to the building owner. Addressing the problem right away, and in the correct manner by experts, will save stress, time, money, and the overall integrity of the building.